Soft-Tissue Graft (Gum Graft)
Many patients are concerned with gum recession or "gum loss." Aggressive tooth brushing habits, gum disease, trauma, aging and poor tooth positioning are just a few of the many reasons why gum tissue recedes and roots become exposed. This recession does not necessarily mean than the tooth will be lost. However, exposed root surfaces may be sensitive to temperature change, more vulnerable to decay, and be associated with loss of supporting bone.
Gingival recession and exposed roots can lead to the following problems:
- Compromised esthetics
- Increased root sensitivity
- Loss of supporting bone
- Increase in plaque and tartar build-up and inflammation
- Risk of future recession and root cavities
The solution to combat and treat gum recession is a soft-tissue graft, also known as a gum graft.
The goal of a soft tissue graft is to either cover the exposed root or to thicken the existing gum tissue in order to halt further recession from occurring and protect your roots from decay. Any one of three techniques of gum grafting will be recommended for your case.
TYPES OF SOFT TISSUE GRAFTS
Free Gingival Graft – A strip of gum tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and secured to the site of recession to promote natural growth of gum tissue. This type of graft is most commonly utilized for thickening existing tissue.
Connective Tissue graft – In cases of larger areas of root exposure, a subepithelial connective tissue is often indicated. This connective tissue is gently lifted from a small flap that is gently raised on the roof of the mouth and secured to the site of recession.
Pedicle Graft – This type of graft involves “sharing” the soft tissue between the site of recession and the adjacent gum tissue. A small flap of tissue is partially cut away and moved to the side to cover the adjacent root that has recession. The results and predictability of this type of graft procedure are excellent as the tissue that is moved to the area of recession includes blood vessels that are left in place.